A thrilling victory last week put Texas Tech in the Top 25 for the first time this season. It will look to avoid a letdown and stay undefeated against a less formidable opponent.
The No. 25 Red Raiders host fellow unbeaten Texas State as the teams close out a three-year series Saturday night.
Texas Tech (3-0) got a tiebreaking 19-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Davis Webb to Bradley Marquez with 3:48 remaining on Sept. 12, and went on to defeat then-No. 24 TCU 20-10.
The TD came after the Red Raiders thought they had scored on a 49-yard pass from Webb to DeAndre Washington, but he dropped the ball at the half-yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty took them back to the TCU 14. Two plays later, Webb hit Marquez.
"That's about as ugly as you can win, but we'll take it,'' said coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose team was penalized 10 times for 89 yards to TCU's 13 for 115. "Pretty bizarre, but I thought our kids' effort was incredible the entire time. Played their hearts out and found a way to win an ugly game.''
Webb's performance certainly wasn't ugly as he went 3 of 4 for 77 yards and the score after freshman walk-on Baker Mayfield left in the fourth quarter with a deep bruise to his leg, but Mayfield will be back under center this week.
He was 21 of 40 for 216 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions against the Horned Frogs, though Mayfield did help lead a balanced passing attack in which Red Raiders QBs completed throws to seven receivers.
Texas Tech is averaging 400.0 yards through the air, fifth in the country. It had only 293 last week, but that was enough to help it become ranked for the first time since Nov. 11.
"Yeah, I don't even pay attention to it," Kingsbury said of making the poll. "It is what it is. We just attack each week and try to get better that week and try to win that game."
The Red Raiders have done that easily in their first two meetings with Texas State, winning 58-10 at home last Sept. 8 and 50-10 on the road Sept. 3, 2011.
The Bobcats (2-0) appear improved this season, defeating Prairie View A&M 28-3 on Sept. 7 in their last contest. Chris Nutall rushed for 132 yards and two scores on just eight carries as Texas State outgained the Panthers 408-244 and held the ball for 38 minutes, 12 seconds.
Texas State hasn't been 3-0 since 1983, and it will try to match that feat by giving coach Dennis Franchione his 200th career win.
"These guys know what happened the last two years," Franchione said of the first two meetings with Texas Tech. "They'd like to walk off the field Saturday with their head held higher. Last year just got away from us so quickly, I don't think our guys felt like they had a chance to show what they could do. They'd like to have a chance to show what they can do."